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Michael Ringman, TELUS International: Going omnichannel, from challenges, misconceptions to readiness and benefits

In a recent interview, Outsourcing Today asked Michael Ringman, Chief Information Officer, TELUS International about the latest resolutions and assessing tools for omnichannel solutions' implementation.

2017-06-28 20:37:55

TELUS International's manager advises the companies on taking the necessary time to analyze and assess at the very start of the implementation process, which can really save time, energy, resources, and headaches during the actual transition to an omnichannel solution.

Ready for omnichannel solutions? When and how?

Michael Ringman: The best place to start is by assessing your company's omnichannel readiness. TELUS International, in partnership with Everest Group, recently created an assessment tool: From Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel Customer Experience: A Checklist for Assessing Readiness to Make the Jump, that highlights both the requirements and frequent challenges when embarking on an omnichannel implementation.

The checklist helps to anticipate the potential complexities that may arise, allowing companies to identify any gaps in either human capital or technology that may prevent a successful enablement. For example, have you reviewed your current management's skills and experience, and mapped their ability to manage an omnichannel contact center? Or, has your company identified the appropriate mix of tools to support your cross-channel operational needs?

Taking the time to analyze and assess at the very start of the process can save time, energy, resources, and headaches during the actual transition to an omnichannel solution.

Benefiting from omnichannel approach

Michael Ringman: To be truly successful, companies need to be set up strategically, operationally, and technologically to support a synchronized customer journey. Taking a holistic omnichannel approach means ensuring that the right people are hired at the very start, business process improvement initiatives are built into the strategy and that the appropriate technology is being used to achieve customer experience goals. Viewing omnichannel customer service as an ecosystem will allow companies to reap the most rewards.

Overcoming challenges in the workplace for this tactic

Michael Ringman:Similar to how approaching omnichannel from a holistic perspective can help organizations gain the most benefits, it can also help companies overcome challenges. The majority of organizations still have siloed support channels, inconsistent operational practices and varied technology platforms forming the basis of their customer support structure. This division can create significant problems but by focusing on the big picture, which includes ongoing training and coaching, regular 360-degree feedback and maintaining a corporate culture that cultivates engagement and empowerment, companies will be better positioned to break down those silos and ensure a successful omnichannel environment.

Common misconceptions around omnichannel solutions

Michael Ringman: When implementing an omnichannel solution many companies prioritize technology, but it's people that should be taking precedence. Technology serves as the enabler but strategic decisions need to be made by experienced IT personnel with executive buy-in. And without an enterprise culture that is willing to put the customer first at all levels of the organization, the full benefits of an omnichannel solution may never be realized.

Omnichannel presents a much more efficient use of customer data so that all people and all departments – from finance, to HR, to procurement – will begin to have the same, complete view of the customer as frontline agents have in the contact center. With a similar emphasis on the customer shared across the organization, all teams can begin to work together to ensure a successful customer journey.
How does TELUS International determine its cross-channel strategy?

Michael Ringman: As a global BPO provider, TELUS International has partnered with some of the world's most iconic brands to deliver a blended high-tech/high-touch strategy. Whether they're just beginning their omnichannel journey or already engrossed in the process, we partner with our clients at all stages of the continuum to help them exceed their objectives.

We assess individual client needs to determine which cross-channel approach will offer maximum results, utilizing best practices with proven outcomes. And while needs and approaches will vary, the end goal is always a more positive and seamless customer experience.

Practical stories on implementing omnichannel solutions

Michael Ringman: For one of our fast-growing tech clients in the fitness wearables space, what started as a small pilot for email support, soon grew to a successful multichannel, multilingual operation serving customers in over seven languages across voice, email, community forums, and chat. Specialty teams were created to uncover best practices related to accurate staffing, program ramping and technology implementation. In this example, the focus was on finding the right people to support an omnichannel strategy before diving too far into the technology.

Another one of our clients in the internet services space approached us in the early stages of their omnichannel implementation. We've served as a strategic partner from the start, helping to identify key performance indicators that work best for their objectives and mapping out a plan for hiring the right candidate profiles capable of providing omnichannel support. While implementation is still in the planning phase, we are helping to guide the discussion for a successful adoption.

As a final example, for one of our clients in the telecom industry, we've helped them to evolve their customer service approach to an omnichannel strategy focused on the overall customer interaction. We worked closely with them to hire the right profile and retrain agents to successfully deliver support in a more complex service environment. Frontline team members now own the customer experience from start to finish, regardless of channel, and serve more as a universal agent.

Expectations on the future customer-service experience

Michael Ringman: Today's digitally-savvy consumers are looking for a seamless customer experience. This means blending the best of technology with frontline agents capable of delivering exceptional service with more complex, and often sensitive support requirements. The term "channel of choice" has never had more meaning.

At TELUS International , we continue to invest in our team members' training and development to ensure they have the requisite skills and knowledge to keep pace. Our people-first approach is combined with friendlier customer service metrics like first call resolution, the utilization of text and speech analytics and the incorporation of both big and small data to ensure consumers feel understood and connected to the brand throughout their customer journey.

Handling more complex support interactions via multiple channels is more demanding and providing a work environment that ensures frontline team member engagement and loyalty is critical. We know that an engaged agent is an inspired agent and we continue to surround our team members with the things that matter most to them like providing long-term career opportunities, supporting personal and professional growth, championing diversity, and offering impactful volunteer initiatives in the communities where we operate. As a result of our efforts, we have one of the highest employee engagement scores in the BPO industry – 81% according to Aon Hewitt— and attrition rates up to 50% below industry average. This means more tenured and engaged team members to enable an effective transition to omnichannel support.

Michael Ringman is Chief Information Officer at TELUS International , a global BPO and ITO company with over 25,000 team members around the world, including in Canada, the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia. With a strong focus on serving fast-growing tech, fintech, financial services, and travel and hospitality companies, TELUS International is the global arm of TELUS, one of Canada's largest telecom companies.

Learn more at: telusinternational.com


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